Nearly all prefectures shut schools over virus outbreak
Japan Today -- Mar 03
Nearly all prefectures began shutting schools Monday in a bid to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus in Japan, four days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surprised many with a request for schools to be closed countrywide until early April.

As confusion spread among many local authorities across Japan, some schools held their final classes or left facilities open for children who cannot stay home alone while their parents are at work.

More than 960 infections have been confirmed in Japan, with Ehime Prefecture reporting its first case Monday -- a woman in her 40s. The tally includes more than 700 people who were aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo.

According to the Ehime prefectural government, the woman, who works for a local bank, is not displaying symptoms such as fever or coughing. She visited a music venue in Osaka in mid-February, where a few others had tested positive for the virus.

Shimane in western Japan, one of the prefectures not to have any reported cases of the virus, is the only prefecture to say it will not yet close schools.

Abe announced the school closure plan last Thursday, calling for them to remain shut through the end of the spring break in early April when the new school year starts in Japan. The education ministry subsequently issued the request to local education boards.

The prime minister said parents who need to take time off and look after their children until schools start the new academic year will receive financial support.

On Monday, the health ministry said it will provide a subsidy for firms that created their own paid leave systems over the outbreak and made parents with children attending elementary and special schools or children suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus take leave.

By paying up to 8,330 yen a day per worker for paid leave between Feb 27 and March 31, the ministry hopes to help companies compensate workers for income losses.

The Cabinet Office also decided that the subsidy payment for working parents using babysitters will be raised from a monthly maximum of 52,800 yen to 264,000 yen for the whole of March.

News source: Japan Today
May 25
The threat of sexual harassment is an all-too-real concern for Japan's student job hunters, and it is sometimes university alumni who use promises of patronage to abuse their position of trust. (Japan Today)
May 24
The health ministry plans to raise subsidies for governments that bolster staff at child consultation centers to help them deal with the surge in child-support demand caused by the coronavirus, informed sources say. (Japan Times)
May 23
The government has set an additional criterion for foreign students hoping to receiving cash handouts of up to Y200,000 ($1,900) for students struggling financially amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, making only those in the top 30 percent of grades eligible. (Japan Times)
May 20
The Cabinet approved Tuesday a program to provide up to ¥200,000 ($1,900) in a cash handout to each of around 430,000 university and other students in the nation struggling financially to pay for tuition or living costs amid the spread of the new coronavirus. (Japan Times)
May 20
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted authorities worldwide to introduce entry restrictions on border traffic. But regulations in Japan have sparked a particularly strong reaction from its international community, as it is the only Group of Seven member denying entry to long-term and permanent residents and has set no clear criteria for their return. (Japan Times)
May 19
Adam Fulford is our guest today. He's been living in Japan for many years and has seen a lot, experienced a lot and will share his stories with us today. From NHK to projects in Tohoku, Japan's "Bubble Era" to the 21st century, get ready for some history! (ONLY in JAPAN)
May 19
Schools in many regions across the nation reopened Monday with staggered attendance, in preparation for a full-scale restart of classes, following the government’s lifting of the state of emergency in 39 of the nation’s 47 prefectures last Thursday. (Japan Times)
May 17
If you’ve lived and worked in Japan–especially as an English teacher in Japanese schools, then you might know that the high-tech image of Japan is still somewhat of an illusion. (soranews24.com)
May 15
Japan's government has proposed paying as much as 200,000 yen ($1,870) to students at risk of being unable to afford tuition because of financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic. (Nikkei)
May 15
A survey by Japan's education ministry shows that 86 percent of kindergartens and schools have remained closed during the state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. (NHK)